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European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics 55 (2003) 209213 www.elsevier.

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Research paper

Stability of udrocortisone acetate solutions prepared from tablets and powder


S. Cisterninoa, J. Schlatterb,*, J.L. Saulniera
a

Department of Pharmacy, Hospital of Gonesse, Gonesse, France b Department of Pharmacy and Toxicology, Bondy, France

Received 19 February 2002; accepted in revised form 31 October 2002

Abstract To assess the stability of udrocortisone acetate oral solutions prepared from tablets and powder at three temperatures over a 60-days period. Solutions of udrocortisone acetate 40 mg/ml were prepared from commercially available 0.05-mg tablets and powder in ethanol 17% v/v. They stored in an amber glass prescription bottles at 4, 23 and 408C shielded from light. The concentrations of udrocortisone acetate were determined in duplicate by high-performance liquid chromatography at 0, 1, 7, 14, 30, 50 and 60 days. The initial and nal pH of solutions were compared. The recovery of udrocortisone acetate from tablets was determined. The times (t90) needed for udrocortisone acetate to fall to 90% of its initial concentration were calculated by a linear regression analysis to allow the determination of the expired dates. The recovery of udrocortisone acetate from tablets was 78 ^ 3%. The t90 expressed with 95% condence limits were 2 ^ 1 and 22 ^ 3 days for the solutions prepared from tablets and stored at 23 and 48C, respectively, whereas t90 were 11 ^ 2 days and at least 60 days for the solutions prepared with the powder and stored at 23 and 48C, respectively. No color or odour changes were observed during the study period. The initial pH of the solutions prepared from tablets and powder were 7.7 and 6.9, respectively. No change of pH values was observed at the end of the 60 days. Signicant degradation of udrocortisone acetate occurred in formulations stored at 238C. Fludrocortisone acetate 40 mg/ml solutions prepared from tablets and powder were stable 19 days and at least 60 days, respectively, when stored at 48C. The solution prepared from powder is the best in term of stability and nal concentration which is independent on the udrocortisone acetate recovery. q 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Fludrocortisone acetate; Stability; Oral solutions

1. Introduction The destruction of the adrenal cortex cause adrenal dysfunction which is characterized by reduction in cortisol secretion, variable decrease in aldosterone secretion and a secondary increase in adreno-cortico-trophic-hormone (ACTH)-stimulated androgen production. The principal cause of adrenal destruction is autoimmune adrenalitis [1]. In the acquired immunodeciency syndrome, the adrenal gland may be also destroyed by a variety of opportunistic infections [2,3]. However, congenital adrenal hyperplasia is the most common primary adrenal dysfunction in childhood [4]. In all cases, treatment includes hormonal replacement therapy with glucocorticoids as hydrocortisone. Patients
* Corresponding author. Department of Pharmacy and Toxicology, University Hospital of Jean Verdier, Avenue du 14 juillet, 93140 Bondy, France. Tel.: 33-1-4802-6603; fax: 33-1-4802-6623. E-mail address: joel.schlatter@jvr.ap-hop-paris.fr (J. Schlatter).

should also receive life-long udrocortisone replacement, in a single daily dose of 50 200 mg, as a substitution for aldosterone [4,5]. Fludrocortisone acetate is commercially available in compressed tablets only. A liquid dosage form would be highly desirable for patients with swallowing problems. In addition, an oral liquid form allows the dose to be easily adjusted. For very young children, usually tablets are crushed into powder to be mixed with food vehicles. This practice can not assure a good dissolution and hence therapeutic activity of udrocortisone acetate. An oral solution would be more acceptable for pediatric patients. Because of the lack of published data on the stability of udrocortisone acetate in oral liquid dosage form, we designed a study to determine the stability of the drug in solution prepared from commercially available tablets and powder at three controlled temperatures.

0939-6411/02/$ - see front matter q 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/S0939-6411(02)00159-5

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2. Materials and methods 2.1. Materials Fludrocortisone acetate powder and norethindrone (internal standard) were of analytical grade (Sigma, St Quentin, France, lot 55H11161 and lot 26H0455, respectively). Fludrocortisone acetate 0.05-mg tablets were manufactured by PCH (Paris, France, lot 89022). They were consisted of calcium hydrogenophosphate, magnesium stearate and corn starch. Sterile water for irrigation was ` vres, France, lot 0146/36). obtained from Fresenius (Se ne-Poulenc-Rorer Ethanol 90% v/v was obtained from Rho (Melun, France, lot A2943790/2). Acetonitrile and tetrahydrofuran were HPLC grade (Chromanormw, Prolabo, Paris, France). 2.2. Formulations of solutions The solution of udrocortisone acetate 40 mg/ml was prepared by crushing 100 tablets of 0.05-mg udrocortisone acetate using a glass mortar and pistil. Due to the incomplete recovery of udrocortisone acetate from tablets, extra tablets were used to obtain a concentration of 40 mg/ml instead of the expected concentration of 50 mg/ml. Twenty ml of ethanol 90% v/v were added and the mixture was triturated to make a paste. After 30 min, 80 ml of sterile water were added and mixed for 20 min. The milky suspension was ltered through a 7-mm lter paper (Dumasw, Prolabo) to have a clear solution which was transferred in nine amber glass prescription bottles. The recovery of udrocortisone acetate obtained from compressed tablets was also studied from ve solutions prepared independently. Another solution of udrocortisone acetate 40 mg/ml was prepared with udrocortisone acetate powder. A sufcient quantity was weighed and mixed in a volumetric ask rst with ethanol 90% and then with water in the same proportion. The solution was also transferred in nine amber glass prescription bottles. Both solutions obtained from tablets and powder were formulated with a nal ethanol concentration of 17% v/v. 2.3. Storage of solutions Three bottles from each formulation were stored in a dark place at the following temperatures: 4 ^ 2, 23 ^ 3 and 40 ^ 38C for the forced degradation. 2.4. Sampling From each bottles a 50 ml samples were taken and diluted in 10 ml of mobile phase to be assayed in duplicate by highperformance liquid chromatography, immediately after preparation, 1, 7, 14, 30, 50 and 60 days. The physical appearance of the samples was assessed by visual observation against a black using a white backgrounds

under normal light. The odor of each bottle was compared to a vehicle solution (ethanol 17%) stored at the same selected conditions. The apparent pH of each sample was measured by digital pH meter (Model 93313 pH meter Bioblock scientic, Ilkirch, France) at the beginning and at the end of the study. 2.5. HPLC analysis Fludrocortisone acetate was quantied by the adapted Schrive et al. HPLC method [6]. The method required a liquid chromatograph with the ultraviolet light detector (LC spectrophotometer, Waters, Millford, MA, USA) set at a wavelength of 238 nm, an injector set (Rheodyne valve Model 7125, Touzart and Matignon, Vitry sur Seine, France) to deliver 100 ml, a recording integrator (Data Module 745, Waters) and a C18 reverse phase column (Novapackw C18 column, 4-mm, 15 cm, Waters) running at ambient temperature. The mobile phase pumped at a rate of 0.8 ml/min consisted of water, acetonitrile and tetrahydrofuran (60:33:7 v/v/v). The mobile phase was ltered and degassed with ultrasonic bath. The retention times for udrocortisone and norethindrone were 5.1 and 6.5 min, respectively (Fig. 1). A 1 mg/ml udrocortisone acetate reference standard and a 1 mg/ml norethindrone stock solutions were prepared in ethanol 90% v/v and stored at 48C. Calibration curves were performed with standard solutions diluted in mobile phase to yield concentrations of udrocortisone acetate to 300, 250, 100, 50 and 25 ng/ml with 200 ng/ml of internal standard. The standard curve was constructed by plotting the peak-height ratio of udrocortisone acetate to norethindrone against the udrocortisone acetate concentration and was used for calculating the drug concentrations of the samples. In order to establish the stability-indicating nature of the assay, udrocortisone acetate solutions obtained from powder and tablets were stored at 408C until the chromatographic peak was not detected. We showed that a degradation product was eluted at 3.1 min without interfering with udrocortisone and internal standard peaks (Fig. 1). The same degradation product peak was found in the stability studies for each formulation whatever the temperature conditions. With this HPLC method the quantication of udrocortisone acetate was not inuenced by degradation product. 2.6. Data analysis For each formulation, mean concentrations for each time were determined and converted to percentages of initial concentration as the Anaizi et al. method [7]. The data were analyzed by linear regression analysis. The time t90 which represents a 90% of the initial concentration for the degradation of udrocortisone acetate solutions was calculated from the linear regression analysis with 95%

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Fig. 1. Chromatograms of udrocortisone acetate solutions, not degraded (A); partially degraded (B); and totally degraded (C). Peak 1: udrocortisone acetate 200 ng/ml (retention time 5.1 min), peak 2: internal standard (retention time 6.5 min), peak 3: product of degradation (retention time 3.1 min).

condence limits (CL). The concentration for lower CL corresponded to that achieved on the expire date.

3. Results The straight line of linear regression of udrocortisone acetate HPLC assay was y 0:0098x 0:00363 (^ 0.00015). The limits of detection and quantication of udrocortisone acetate were 18 and 25 ng/ml, respectively (signal/noise 3:1). The coefcient of correlation was of 0.998 ^ 0.001. Intra-day and inter-day variations were

1.9% (n 10) and 2.5% (n 5), respectively. The recovery of udrocortisone acetate from compressed tablets was of 78 ^ 3% (n 5) which explained the nal concentration of 40 mg/ml in the solutions. The apparent initial pHs were signicantly different between solutions prepared from tablets and those prepared from the powder, 7.7 and 6.9, respectively. No difference was found between initial and nal pH values at the end of the study. Likewise, visual and organoleptics observations did not reveal any changes during the study period. Percentages of initial concentration of udrocortisone acetate are represented in Table 1. Figs. 2 and 3 represented the udrocortisone acetate degradation

Table 1 Stability of udrocortisone acetate 40 mg/ml solutions from tablets and pure powder at 4, 23 and 408C Day % Initial concentration remaininga 48C Tablets 0 1 7 14 30 50 60
a b c d e f g h

238C Powder 100.0 ^ 1.8c 100.0 ^ 1.8 100.0 ^ 1.5 98.8 ^ 1.5 97.4 ^ 1.3 97.4 ^ 1.3 97.4 ^ 1.7 Tablets 100.0 ^ 1.7d 93.1 ^ 1.9 76.4 ^ 1.8 62.5 ^ 1.4 44.4 ^ 1.9 27.8 ^ 1.6 18.1 ^ 1.2 Powder 100.0 ^ 1.7e 98.7 ^ 1.8 91.7 ^ 1.3 85.9 ^ 1.9 78.2 ^ 1.3 69.2 ^ 1.3 60.3 ^ 1.6 initial apparent pH was 7.7. initial apparent pH was 6.9. initial apparent pH was 7.7. initial apparent pH was 6.9. initial apparent pH was 7.7. initial apparent pH was 6.9.

408C Tablets 100.0 ^ 1.6f 68.1 ^ 1.4 10.5 ^ 1.7 , LODh Powder 100.0 ^ 1.7g 78.3 ^ 1.8 32.0 ^ 1.7 , LODh

100.0 ^ 1.6b 98.6 ^ 1.9 95.9 ^ 1.7 91.7 ^ 1.8 87.5 ^ 1.4 80.6 ^ 1.4 75.0 ^ 1.4

Reported as mean ^ SD of duplicate determinations for three samples. The actual mean ^ SD initial concentration was 38.1 ^ 0.6 mg/ml, and the The actual mean ^ SD initial concentration was 40.6 ^ 0.7 mg/ml, and the The actual mean ^ SD initial concentration was 38.2 ^ 0.6 mg/ml, and the The actual mean ^ SD initial concentration was 40.5 ^ 0.7 mg/ml, and the The actual mean ^ SD initial concentration was 38.1 ^ 0.6 mg/ml, and the The actual mean ^ SD initial concentration was 40.6 ^ 0.7 mg/ml, and the Limit of detection.

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Fig. 2. Stability of udrocortisone acetate solution prepared from tablets at 4, 23 and 408C. Standard deviations were lower than represented symbols.

curves at the three temperatures chosen. Kinetic analysis showed that the order of udrocortisone acetate degradation t a rst order kinetic model (C C0 exp2kt) with C0 values at 38.2, 39.3, 39.4 mg/ml; and k values at 0.0118, 0.0042, 0.0017 for tablets and powder solutions stored at 238C and tablets solution at 48C, respectively. As shown for tablets udrocortisone acetate solutions, a 208C temperature increase of the reaction led to a , 3-fold higher degradation rate. The t90 values with 95% CL were 2 days (1 3) at 238C and 22 days (19 25) at 48C for the solution prepared from tablets. The t90 values for the solution prepared from the powder were 11 days (9 13) at 238C

and at least 60 days at 48C. A product of degradation was observed in 3.1 min with the forced degradation at 408C which did not interfere with the other peaks. For every solution and whatever are the stocking conditions, the same degradation product peak was detected during the study which did not correspond to the hydrocortisone peak.

4. Discussion The poor recovery of udrocortisone acetate was related to its very low water solubility. Like numerous steroids,

Fig. 3. Stability of udrocortisone acetate solution prepared from powder at 4, 23 and 408C. Standard deviations were lower than represented symbols.

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udrocortisone acetate was known to be practically insoluble in water (0.04 mg/ml) and soluble in ethanol (20 mg/ml) [8,9]. Thus, addition of ethanol increase the solubility of udrocortisone acetate from tablets. Moreover, it was known that ethanol plays a preservative role at a concentration above 15% and whatever pH range [10] avoiding addition of preservative parabens. No other additives like propylene glycol were used to increase udrocortisone acetate recovery from tablets that appeared useless for the liquid form prepared from pure powder. However, ethanol is well known for its potential adverse effects. Guidelines for its inclusion in liquid pharmaceutical have been laid down by American Academy of Pediatrics [11]. A single dose of drug that gives a blood ethanol level not exceeding 25 mg/100 ml can be considered acceptable. The blood ethanol concentration achieved with a single dose of this preparation was estimated. Infants with weight less than 3 kg can reached the limit of blood ethanol level after maximal udrocortisone acetate dose of 200 mg. The chronic administration of the solution should be discussed notably for the very young children. Solutions prepared from tablets are less stable than those prepared from powder. Excipients and pH of the solution prepared from tablets could explain this difference in stability. It was shown for other steroids that the rate of instability was four to ve times lower at pH 6.9 7.9 than that observed at pH 9.1 [12]. Taking into consideration that only 0.8-pH difference was observed between solutions, the real impact of this factor on the chemical stability could not be established.

stable at least 60 days at 48C. Variation in udrocortisone acetate recovery from tablets and lower stability of this formulation suggest that oral solution made with pure powder are to be preferred. This oral solution appear to be an alternative to the administration of tablets for the pediatric patients or those unable to swallow dry forms.

References
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5. Conclusion Fludrocortisone acetate 40 mg/ml oral solutions prepared from 0.05-mg tablets was stable 19 days when stored at 48C whereas those prepared from the pure powder was